A group of researchers at the University of Cambridge, led by biologist Jason Chin, conducted a unique experiment to "hack" the DNA of Escherichia coli and completely replace it with an artificial genome containing everything necessary for life.
DNA is made up of many fragments that make up countless combinations that lead to the formation of various living organisms. With a huge diversity, all life on Earth is based on DNA with the same number of fragments-codons - 64. Millions of years since the appearance of the first single-celled organism, scientists have first created an artificial alternative in the form of an altered E. coli. They thoroughly "plowed" what nature once created, and removed thousands of excess DNA fragments, leaving only 61 codons.
The participants of the experiment, not without reason, feared that E. coli would not survive the "invasion" and die, but everything ended quite well. As reported by the New York Times, "the new bacteria grow more slowly than their natural counterparts and are made up of longer cells - but they are definitely alive."
The main result of the research is the creation of a technology for the formation of synthetic bacteria. Scientists believe that with their help mankind will be able to protect itself from serious diseases.
Synthetic DNA can also form the basis of design bioorganics that will help create the specific life forms required for science. The team from Cambridge intends to continue experiments on further "cutting" of the genome in order to remove "redundant" codons to create new forms of artificial life.